(photo credit: TREVOR LEIGHTON)
Oscar-winning British actress, Dame Helen Mirren will come to Israel to emcee the 2016 Genesis Prize award ceremony, which will take place on June 23 in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present the 2016 Genesis Prize to Itzhak Perlman, acclaimed violinist, educator and advocate for individuals with disabilities.
Mirren will appear at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on June 22 to discuss her life and career with the director, Benjamin Freidenberg. The event is free but seating is limited.
Perlman has been recognized many times for his contributions to music and humanity. On November 25, 2015, US President Barak Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and two other US presidents – Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton – recognized Perlman with the Medal of Liberty and the National Medal of Arts in 1986 and 2000, respectively. Perlman said he would donate his $1 million award to philanthropic projects in the fields of music and support for individuals with special needs.
Mirren won an Oscar for her performance in The Queen in 2007, and won a Tony Award in 2015 for another portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience on Broadway, two high points in an extraordinary career in film, theater and television. Mirren has visited Israel on several occasions and was once a kibbutz volunteer. She portrayed a former Mossad agent in The Debt. In 2015, in Woman in Gold, she played Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish refugee living in the US who fought the government of Austria to recover artwork that was stolen from her family by the Nazis. While being honored at the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles in October 2015 with the Career Achievement Award, she spoke out against cultural boycotts of Israel.
“I am honored and humbled to have been asked to host the 2016 Genesis Prize award ceremony honoring the extraordinary musician, educator and activist for the disabled, Itzhak Perlman,” said Mirren. “Through my first visit to Israel in 1967, I came to love and admire the country and its people, and I continue to be inspired by the creative spark Israelis bring to all forms of art, including film and music. My connection to Israel and the Jewish people has truly been a part of making me what I am today, and I am very excited to be returning to this great country.”